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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Species Fact Profile: Giant Waxy Tree Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)

Giant Waxy Tree Frog (Monkey Frog)
Phyllomedusa bicolor (Boddaert, 1772)

Range: Northern South America
Habitat: Rainforest, Tropical Grassland
Diet: Insects
Reproduction: Breed year round, but most commonly in the rainy season (November through May).  Construct nests in trees over ponds.  Up to 600 eggs laid in a gelatinous mass, which are folded up in the leaves by the male.  After 8-10 days, the eggs hatch and the tadpoles drop into the water, where they will undergo metamorphosis.
Lifespan: 10 Years
Conservation Status: IUCN Least Concern

  • Body length 9-12 centimeters, with females slightly larger than males
  • Skin is dark green on the back, fading to white or pale yellow on the stomach.  Some small white spots outlined in black, denser on the sides and back legs.
  • The fingers end in large adhesive disks, which are used to help cling to trees when climbing - they tend not to jump too much
  • Active by night; during the day, they lie on a leaf or cling to a branch, where their bright green back coloration blends in with the foliage
  • To reduce the risk of drying out in the tropical sun, these frogs produce a wax-like substance from special glands on their skin, which they then wipe across their bodies
  • Skin secretions contain toxins which are being studied for potential pharmaceutical applications.  These secretions were used in shamanic rituals in parts of the species range, producing hallucinations and hypersensitivity that were believed to help hunters possess the energy and stamina to hunt for days
  • Locally common, but may be declining in some areas due to habitat loss

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